Listen . . . & PROFIT
Listen, Listen, Listen...How well do you listen?
If a top customer came into your office right now and you asked him or her, "How well do I listen, and what do I do when I listen?" What would they say, assuming they had just swallowed some truth serum? If that top customer would say something that you wouldn't like, think of the opportunities you can gain by lifting your listening expertise to a higher level. Here are five practical and powerful strategies to improve your listening and help propel YOUR BUSINESS and career to MORE SUCCESS. . .and MORE PROFIT.
1. Withhold judgement. . . get curious
Judgement is a significant barrier to being an exceptional listener. When you're tempted to judge a person as not worth listening to, or judge that someone has nothing of value to tell you, step back, withhold that judgement and... GET CURIOUS. Prompt yourself for curiosity by saying this sentence silently to yourself: "Hmm...I wonder what I'll learn from this person."
2. Identify the 20 MOST IMPORTANT people to your business. After you've done that put them on a piece of paper and put the paper in your line of gaze at your desk, and/or in your diary. Listen purposely to these people at a very high, focussed level of listening. Revise the list often. Listening at this high, focussed level is listening with your feeling tone. . .it's really stepping into the other person's shoes. This type of listening can take significant energy so use it selectively with people on your most important list. Some of the people on the list should probably be your fellow team members. You can do a separate list for people in your home life. Don't attempt to use this level with everyone, as your listening will descend to mediocrity.
3. When you're listening to someone... don't be anywhere else. You never get a second chance to listen to someone the first time, and if you're day dreaming, that might be the precise moment the person is sharing a key information bit.
4. Honour silence. This is a classical trait of good listeners. People of non-Western background are more comfortable with silence than those of Western background. People of Western background fill in the silence with the sound of their voice. You don't learn much from the sound of YOUR voice. You DO learn much from the sound of another's voice, for example your customer's.
5. Plan to listen. Before you go into a listening situation take a moment to ask yourself, AND answer these questions.
Why am I meeting/ringing? What is my objective/their objective?
Am I ready to listen to that, which is inconsistent with my expectations?
What do I know about this person that will help me listen?
What are my emotional triggers? (emotional triggers are anything that causes an emotional response to rise up inside you, and which potentially can distract you from listening in the moment). Examples of emotional triggers could be the words 'racist, downsizing' politician'.
Awareness of your emotional triggers before you listen can help you stay focused while listening in the moment.
What are the unexpected opportunities? There are more than you think if you plan for them.
How can I minimise misunderstanding? When two people are conversing, they're never exactly talking about the same thing. Preparation for this fact can increase the amount of information meaning that you share with another person.
Your listening is a skill that can be developed with practice. Remember this Scottish verse.
"His thoughts were slow, his words were few, and never formed to glisten. But he was a joy for all his clan . . . for you should have heard him listen!".
Good listening. Michael Kelly
for sales people
Your voice is a critical part of the image you portray to your prospective customers, your clients. . . in fact everyone that you happen upon during your waking day.
Does your voice make people want to listen? Does it win the confidence of your customers?
Does your voice MAKE you, or LOSE you sales?
Use the following voice language techniques to make people want to listen to you.
1. Speak louder - fill up more space with your voice
Successful people in business life fill up space with their voice. They are comfortable with allowing their voice to carry beyond their own conversation partner.
Perform this technique to speak louder and fill up space with your voice:
First, extend your right arm as far as you can directly in front of your face with the palm of your hand facing your face.
Second, while counting to 10, direct and project your voice to your hand. Whenever you speak keep in mind the mental picture of projecting your voice to an extended hand.
2. Accelerate, de. . .cel. . .erate and use extended pause
The ears of people that listen to you want to entertained by a variety of voice speed and pause. Ears are turned off by monotony.
Perform the following technique to help you accelerate, decelerate and pause to entertain your listener's ears and make them want to listen to you.
Recite the following passage a few times. Each time vary how you, accelerate and decelerate the words and phrases and where you pause
"My recommendation to you is to take up this offer, to save time, to save money and to save relationships".
3. Build in deeper voice pitches
A voice that has a lower pitch helps other people perceive you as credible. A deeper pitch combined with a louder voice, with acceleration, deceleration and pause gives you voice authority
Perform the following technique to help you build in a deeper pitch.
Picture in your mind's eye a huge oil tanker entering Sydney Harbour. As it enters the harbour the captain blows the tanker's deep, resonant horn. Now 'hear' that horn and create its deep, low sound by saying and prolonging the sound (oh > > >).
Repeat the deep (oh) and then count to 10 while maintaining the low pitch.
Practise the above voice language techniques three or four times a day, for three or four days to start making the techniques habit patterns for you.
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Michael Kelly, Director - Kelly Speech Communication, Director -
Tactical Alliance Group
Professional speaker, Seminar leader, PO Box 1430 North Sydney NSW 2059 Australia
Ph (02) 9957 3395 Fax (02) 9929 6668 Mobile 0418 215 049
Thought of the month: "If you speak with increased loudness, while building in lower voice pitches, and with judicious use of pause, you will be perceived as having more authority."